FORT MILL — After dropping their season opener to Marvin Ridge, the Nation Ford Falcons bounced back to defeat Providence 59-57.
Led by junior Riley Hilton, who scored 19 points, Nation Ford held off a third quarter rally by Providence.
Senior Justin Sergent added 16 points as Providence outscored the Falcons 33-31 in the second half. Fortunately for Nation Ford, the Falcons were able to carry a 28-24 lead into the half.
In their season opener against Marvin Ridge, Nation Ford struggled in the second quarter and was outscored 31-12 while allowing Marvin Ridge to go on an 11-0 run.
That poor quarter, along with Marvin Ridge hitting a dozen three-pointers in the game, led to the Falcons falling 80-64.
Marvin Ridge shot 49 percent from the field in the game as Nation Ford shot just 38 percent and missed several easy baskets.
The Falcons struggled to make up ground in the second half despite outscoring Marvin Ridge in the fourth quarter.
Nation Ford was led by Hilton with 23 points and senior Carson Smith, who had 18 points.
“It’s early and we are still trying to find out who we are,” said Falcons head coach Brian Turner. “We didn’t play the way we wanted to play. We didn’t respond the way we are capable. We didn’t run our stuff well.”
Lady Falcons split games
After giving new head coach Mike Smith his first win with a 33-32 victory over Marvin Ridge in the season opener, the Lady Falcons struggled against Providence, losing 49-36.
So far on the season, junior Taylor Yarborough has been the brightest spot for Nation Ford.
Yarborough scored 19 in the season-opening win over Marvin Ridge to lead Nation Ford and then added 20 in the lost to Providence.
Against Providence, the Lady Falcons weren’t able to hold onto a 25-20 halftime lead and were outscored in the second half 29-11.
In the season opener against Marvin Ridge, Nation Ford again allowed a halftime lead to slip away.
Entering the fourth quarter trailing 28-23, the Lady Falcons’ defense stepped up to hold Marvin Ridge to just four points, as Yarborough scored six of Nation Ford’s 10 points in the period to rally.
Yarborough put Nation Ford up 32-30 with two minutes left and then after Marvin Ridge tied the game, she hit the game winning free-throw with just 6.3 seconds left to give the Lady Falcons the eventual win.
“I was real proud of their effort and how we came together as a team,” Smith said. “Defense is above our offense right now. We are working on stuff right now and striving to get balanced scoring.”
Nation Ford will again play Providence and Marvin Ridge this week, as well as Lancaster in their first Region III-AAAA game of the season.